“Two Paths” is the second book of the historical romance trilogy “The Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu” by J.G. MacLeod. I have read all three books, and I can say that Lady Ellen is one of those book characters that become iconic, impersonating the traits of not only one person but of the whole class.
After her adventures on Inis Mor, the remote island to where her father, Duke of Manchester sent her because she had disobeyed him, in “Two Paths” Lady Ellen is back in the environment she is used to. She lives in luxury, her every need is taken care of by numerous servants, and her fiancé Lord Ardilaun is more than willing to do anything to make her feel happy.
But Lady Ellen can’t relax and enjoy this peaceful life. She has brought secrets from Inis Mor, and at least one of them she can’t hide forever.
I liked that the author has managed to capture the ambiguity of human feelings. It might seem that we always know what we would do in different situations. But in reality, we often don’t have a clue about our own actions. After reading “Lady Ellen”, the first book of the trilogy, a reader might get the impression that Lady Ellen shouldn’t have acted as she did. Still, if you dig deeper, and consider all the circumstances – first of all, the role of women in the 19th century in society – her choices become clearer.
“Two Paths” is set during the harsh times of potato famine in Ireland. The story illuminates the universal truth: any event, no matter how vast its impact on a country in general, impacts its people differently. Those who had little, suffer the most, while money provides the rich with protection against “life storms”.
There are more steamy scenes in this book than in books one and three of the trilogy, and there is a warning about it in the foreword.